Cockatoo Courageous

We all change, including our parrots.

Cockatoo Courageous

Apparently, passing his one-year anniversary as King of All Toos at our house has flipped some sort of a switch in Rocky's brain and he has begun doing all sorts of things that he formerly would not have even considered.

The first one was that he crossed The Great Barrier between living room and kitchen and began insisting on being present for meals. He doesn't want more than a bite of food, and he tends to turn his back to us and sit on my arm gazing out the window while we eat, but he must be at the table. Perhaps he's afraid we might give a tidbit to one of the slobbering beasts who also attend every meal with great interest. We sit down to eat and here comes Rocky waddling across the floor. When he gets to me, he holds up his foot, and if I didn't pick him up, he'd climb my leg and end up on my arm anyway.

Another is that, while he doesn't necessarily like being misted, he has now decided he will tolerate it, if I don't make him tolerate it very long. When someone is mowing, he feels compelled to take a bath, which he tries to take in his water dish. Last weekend, when his daddy was mowing and he started trying to bathe in his dish, I ran for the mister and started misting him, and he was mostly okay with that. I wouldn't say he was pleased. But he wasn't terrified, which is how he reacted all the other times I attempted this. I've offered every sort of container and water temperature I can come up with and he still prefers the water dish. I hope now that he's allowed misting, that we can do that instead. The other parrots, with the exception of Chief Bird in Charge Clyde, love misting. My starling has a bathing dish in her room and takes a bath several times a day on her own. Rocky has not had a proper bath the whole time he's been with us, until last weekend. I hope that's changed now. He looked so pretty once he was all clean and fluffy.

He wants to sit on my shoulder now, especially if I want him to get off me so I can do something else, like go to work. He's quite happy on my arm, head on my shoulder, until he suspects I want him to get back on his cage or playstand and then up to the shoulder he goes and there he stays. I missed church on Sunday because I couldn't get him off. I was ready to go, and he was stomping around on the floor, and I picked him up to put him back on his cage and he went up to my shoulder and then behind my head and there he was and there he would not budge from until it was too late to get to church on time, at which point he was quite happy to get on his playstand and have a snack instead. Don't try to convince me that bird can't tell time.

Speaking of stomping around on the floor … it was months after he moved in before he tried that, and then the slightest thing would startle him and he'd scurry back to his cage. Now he's so bold he comes scrambling down and marches right past the slobbering beasts (who are afraid of him) and climbs up on the couch and makes himself right at home on it. In fact, his daddy came home from work yesterday to find Rocky on the couch with a dismantled remote control in his pterodactyl feet. So the question this morning was, do we leave him locked up in his cage all day, or hide the remotes, or resign ourselves to a destroyed couch, or what? So we placed a sort of fence of footstools and things around the cage in the hope that he'd either get busy exploring them and forget about the couch, or they'd intimidate him into staying on the cage and playstand. I guess we'll find out this evening if it worked. Years ago, we came home from a band gig to find that we no longer had a couch because our dogs had utterly destroyed it in our absence, so it wouldn't be the first time we've lost a couch to a non-human family member. When we're not home, and even if we are, one dog sleeps on the bedroom rug and the other in the bed, so Rocky has the living room to himself. My vote was to leave him locked up since Hubby gets home fairly early and Rocky has an abundance of space, toys, food and water in his cage, but Hubby wanted to let him out as we always have, and Rocky voted with his daddy, so there we were.

Rocky is more trouble and takes more time, attention and creativity than all six of the other birds combined, plus the dogs, but I'll be darned if he doesn't make up for it by also being the most interesting. Don't tell the dogs and other birds I said that. Clyde would never, ever forgive me.

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